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Week 9: Vegas Vs. Fantasy

Using Vegas' odds, lines and spreads, Fantasy Football Expert Armando Marsal gets a feel for how this week's matchups will pan out. It's not a perfect science; however, it illustrates trends generated by some of the world's best handicappers.

It was not until I began playing DFS that I started using Vegas lines as part of my research and determining factor when setting up my lineups. These lines can provide so much information each week. It gives you an idea of the potential game flow we could expect. High totals and close spreads, usually indicate a potential shootout. Whereas, a low total with a low spread is a game that is not expected to have a lot of fantasy goodness aside from the defenses. These lines are set by math wizards and some of the best handicappers in the world. They spend countless hours studying patterns, teams, and situations. For those who are not familiar, spreads are the amount of points a team is expected to win or lose by. The point total is the amount of points both teams combined are projected to score.

My goal each week is to look through the lines and point out which offenses you should be targeting and which defenses are in good situations. Let’s dive right into it.

The chart below shows the three games this week with the highest point totals. I included where it opened and the current live line. This can give you an idea of where the public is putting their money on. Generally if the total opens at one number and it begins to rise, the public is betting the over and vice versa.

Game

Open Total

Live Total

Movement

Packers vs. Colts

52.5

54

+1.5

49ers vs. Saints

51

52

+1

Buccaneers vs. Falcons

51.5

51

-0.5

The Colts head to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers in what Vegas has projected as the highest total of the week. The Packers have a 30.75 implied team total, which is the highest of any team this week. The over/under for this contest moved 1.5 points upwards, meaning that people are taking the over at this time. Keep a close eye on the movement of the projected total as it could serve as an indication of what is expected in this matchup. The way to get exposure to this game is through the quarterbacks from both teams as well as the pass catchers. Due to the lack of the running game for the Packers, there is not an option for this offense that is worth considering and since the Colts are on the road and 7.5 point underdogs, as well as, facing a stingy run defense, Frank Gore is less appealing than he normally is. That being said, in PPR formats he is still in play due to his role as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. This is a contest that offers plenty of fantasy goodness and one that you want exposure to.  

Much like every other week, one of the top projected totals involves a game with the Saints. New Orleans heads to the West Coast to take on the Niners in what is expected to be a shootout. Since the spread is just three points, all players from these offenses are in play. After all, neither of these defenses are any good. Both the Saints and 49ers struggle in all defensive categories but are far more vulnerable against the run. The one concern I have is that Drew Brees plays much more inferior on the road than he does at home, which limits his upside a bit and could hurt his pass catchers. However, this matchup is so good that he could potentially overcome his struggles on the road. Keep an eye on the running back situation for the Saints as whoever is expected to get the bulk of the carries between Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower is in a favorable situation. The Niners are yielding 162.4 rushing yards per game and have given up ten rushing touchdowns. They have allowed back-to-back 200+ rushing yard games to running backs. The Saints are just as bad against the run, so if Carlos Hyde is healthy enough to give it a go, he makes a strong play in this contest. Colin Kaepernick also makes a fine play this week, whether it be a streaming play in season long leagues or a DFS play at a low price, but whatever the case may be, this is a phenomenal spot for him. Both of these offenses should score some points which would ultimately translate into fantasy points.

The Bucs and Falcons face off and are one of three teams this week with a projected total of over 50 points. These two teams have scored plenty of points against each other in recent years. Since 2013, they have combined for more than 50 points in five of their seven games. They faced each other in the first week of the season, and each offense scored more than three touchdowns. Both the Falcons and Bucs players are in play here as the defenses have struggled this season. The usual suspects are in play along with others such as Mohamed Sanu and Cameron Brate. I mention Brate here because covering the tight end position has been one of the biggest issues for the Falcons this season, so he is in a really good spot, but then again, so are all the other players on both of these offenses.

The next thing I want to focus on is the game with the lowest point total.

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Move

Vikings vs. Lions

40.5

41

+0.5

The Vikings host the Lions in what Vegas projects to be the lowest scoring game of the slate. Usually, division games are tougher and to make matters worse, you have a Vikings defense that has been stout for most of the season. The Lions have an implied team total of 17.5 points which is the lowest of any team this week. This automatically raises a red flag for me, and it is an offense I will likely avoid. The Vikings defense is in a good spot, but so is their offense. Despite a low total for the game, the Vikings have an implied team total of 23.5 points. The Lions are weakest against the pass, specifically against opposing tight ends, so this is the perfect time to lock Kyle Rudolph into your lineups. Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs are also in plus matchups and can be considered in this contest.

The last thing I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.

Game

Spread

Chiefs

-9.5

Jaguars

+9.5

The Chiefs host the Jaguars in a game they are expected to dominate in. Right off the bat, I know I want the running back for the Chiefs as they are at home and significant favorites. Whether Charcandrick West or Spencer Ware (if healthy) starts, that is a running back you want in your lineups. The Chiefs defense is also in play, not only because the Jaguars will likely be forced to pass and become predictable, but also because Blake Bortles is prone to turnovers. The run game should be avoided because they are expecting to be chasing points. If you want exposure to this offense, targets Blake Bortles and pass catchers for the Jags.

Vegas lines are very helpful, and prop bets can be as well. You can see yardage totals, projected touchdowns, and all sorts of different lines that can help you project what a player is expected to do. Best of luck to all this week.

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